Beijing, China, 7 November, 2018 – Firmenich’s Global Head of Sustainability, Dr Bérangère Magarinos-Ruchat joined the opening panel at the first Reinvented Toilet Expo, organized by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in Beijing, China. With smell recognized as the biggest barrier preventing people from using toilets, Firmenich announced its ground-breaking findings on how appealing odor can act as a driver of positive behaviour change. Firmenich also shared that, for the very first time, its breakthrough malodor control technologies will be reaching low income consumers across South Africa and Bangladesh before the end of 2018, integrated into affordable and sustainable toilet cleaning products. These game-changing toilet innovations for low income countries are some of the many transformative technologies on display at the Expo, for the 1,200 participants cutting across the private and public sectors.

“I believe affordable, sustainable and pleasant toilet cleaning products are critical to accelerating access to safely managed sanitation, considered by the United Nations as one of greatest levers to public health and social inclusion,” said Gilbert Ghostine, CEO Firmenich. “I am excited to see our malodor control technologies reaching populations in need, as we open the next chapter of our work, exploring the link between smell and behaviour change in toilets. Tackling today’s sanitation crisis is critical to us, not only because our science can make a difference, but also, because it advances our purpose to enhance wellbeing around the world.”

“Working with Firmenich, a leader in the science of smell and emotions, as well as serving as Vice-Chair of the Toilet Board Coalition, I firmly believe in the role of smell to unlock the full potential of the new toilet economy”, said Dr. Bérangère Magarinos-Ruchat, Global Head of Sustainability, Firmenich. “The new toilet economy can only work if it is supported by positive behaviours and systems. That’s why we are very excited about our second grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to explore the role and impact of odor in sanitation-related decisions. No matter how efficient and innovative new toilets can be, if bad smell prevents their usage, they will lack impact”.

Following a 4-year research partnership supported by the foundation, Firmenich launched a range of breakthrough malodor control technologies in 2017. Since then, the leading Fragrance Company has been actively working with a number of its customers to embed its technologies into affordable and sustainable hygiene products to accelerate access to sanitation for all. Firmenich’s new study on the role of odor in sanitation-related decisions has uncovered initial insights from consumers in Pune, India suggesting that close to 50% of respondents choose open defecation over toilets due to bad smell. This pioneering study will be extended across low income urban settlements in India, Kenya, South Africa and China to accelerate access to safely managed sanitation in these key countries.

Given the scale of today’s sanitation challenge, no single actor can solve it alone. That’s why Firmenich partners with a range of likeminded organizations, from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to the Toilet Board Coalition, as well as many of its customers and Governments. In the run up to the World Toilet Summit and World Toilet Day, Firmenich is inviting other businesses to join the new toilet economy, estimated to reach up to $200 billion globally, with $62 billion in India alone by 2021. Be it waste upcycling into organic fertilizers or biofuels, building and cleaning new toilets, or shaping smart health solutions, such as digital toilet sensors to detect diseases, this new market opens up a realm of opportunities for all sectors.

About Firmenich

Firmenich is the world’s largest privately-owned perfume and taste company, founded in Geneva, Switzerland, in 1895. Driven by its purpose to create positive emotions to enhance wellbeing, naturally, Firmenich has designed many of the world’s best-known perfumes and tastes, bringing delight to over four billion consumers every day. Renowned for its world-class research and creativity, as well as its leadership in sustainability, each year, Firmenich invests 10% of its turnover in R&D to understand and share the best that nature has to offer responsibly. Firmenich had an annual turnover of 3.7 billion Swiss Francs at end June 2018.

About Reinvent Toilet Expo

Reinvent The Toilet Challenge China (RTTC-China) is funded and supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. University of Science and Technology Beijing team is responsible for the organization and implementation of all the activities for this event. More information is available at: